Following the shrinkage of its workforce in 2019, Citigroup is now expanding its trading and investment banking arm—but it’s not hiring brokers or bankers. Instead, the banking group plans to recruit 2,500 coders and data scientists around the globe. They will be located in its London, New York, Shanghai, Toronto, Dublin, Tel Aviv, Pune, Chennai, and Florida offices.
This wave of recruitment will increase the number of tech-oriented personnel in its trading and investment business by more than 10 percent. Citigroup’s investment arm currently employs 23,000 technology specialists. It is a massive reversal from the bank’s 2019 job cuts, when it laid off hundreds of traders and slashed the headcount of its equities unit by 10 percent.
Stuart Riley, global head of operations and technology for the bank’s institutional clients group, told Bloomberg that the shift towards technologists rather than bankers reflects broader industry trends that have already seen major banks budgeting billions of dollars to develop and implement new technology. Citigroup itself spends US$8.5 billion, or 20 percent of its annual expenses, on technology each year. “The delineation between traders and technologists in markets is disappearing,” he said.
In 2019, some 75 percent of Citigroup’s trade orders were placed and carried out electronically.
This shift has been predicted for some years now. Back in 2017, former Deutsche Bank chief executive John Cryan predicted that banks “won’t need as many people” as automation replaces jobs. In 2018, various economists, finance leaders, and top bankers predicted that as many as half of the jobs in the banking sector would be lost to technology, with front-office bankers, traders, and performance analysts among the hardest hit. A 2019 Wells Fargo report estimated that in the US alone, 200,000 banking jobs would disappear by the end of the next decade. But in their place, roles that combine banking savvy with technology skills will rocket into demand. Over a third of jobs posted by the sector last year were for tech and data roles, and research consultancy Opimas has predicted that 66,000 new technology and data science jobs will be created in the sector by 2030.
Image source: The Exchange